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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old January 30th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds
How long should I wait before filing a claim in small claims court? Should I mention such a possibility in future emails/letters?
You should not threaten to take the party to small claims court unless you are ready to do it. Treat it like a loaded gun. That is, don't point the gun at someone unless you intend to use it.

Most likely she doesn't have the money to pay at this time. She is probably saddled with bills generated by the wedding, especially if there was a big reception.
The mother is probably embarrased because she is not able to deliver what she promised to her daughter. Families often get themselves in water over their head and don't realize it until after the wedding. No amount of threats or court orders will make a person pay if they simply don't have the money.

A court judgement may mean that she has to pay eventually or a lien can be taken against her property. Perhaps she intends to pay anyway once she is able to. One thing is certain. If she is threatened with legal action, she will no longer want the video and there will probably be no voluntary compliance from that point on.

Now you have to make a choice. Hope she is serious about the video and as soon as she has the money she'll come through or force her hand and end all chance of voluntary compliance.

The most important part of this experience is it should be a lessoned learned. Change that contract and collect all of your money BEFORE the start of the wedding and not the day of. If they don't have it before the wedding, don't expect the money tree to blossom after the wedding is over.
Allen W
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Old January 30th, 2007, 10:50 PM   #17
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Very well said and good advice below. Perhaps from now on....make sure you get payment prior to wedding/event date, problem solved for future clients.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 04:39 AM   #18
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the fact is, she probably get a lot of picture already and do not see the need for the video anymore.
So probably she will never pay.... You should ask frankly, if she is still interestedf.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 06:01 AM   #19
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If she doesn't want the video, hopefully you atleast received a deposit and that it was non refundable. I agree with Giroud, she probably already has her pictures, which she probably paid much more for.

Best advice is what has been said, get your money and clear it ahead of time.
What happens if I push the 'Red' button?
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Old January 31st, 2007, 06:18 AM   #20
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Interesting replies to a situation which is a felony in many states.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 06:47 AM   #21
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Bill, the best advice I can give you based on what you have said and how you structure your contract, I would suggest you receive payment 1 week prior to the wedding date. This way you have time for the check to clear before you even shoot the wedding, let alone edit it. I know this wont help you in your current situation, but it may help you in the future.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 06:59 AM   #22
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I'd agree that all is gone now, forever. I think it was probably a bad move telling them that you wouldn't start work on the editing until you had been paid. I'm playing Devil's Advocate here, but to the bride, this infers you haven't done anything - the work on the day may be considered by them to be insignificant. So, they feel bad about not paying, they know you are really angry about it, then you ask them to pay in full, then you wil start work, so in effect, you are now asking her to trust you. She may feel you will be vindictive and not do the work and keep the money? I'm not sure how the US legal system works, but assuming it is similar to ours, then it could possibly be argued that by not finishing the job, there was a breakdown by both parties- as in, they didn't pay, but you didn't complete? I'd guess that at best, you'd be awarded just the percentage of the cost that had been done - maybe just a few hours of shooting. If you took a deposit, then this probably covers that day - so you are not really out of pocket - and I feel it unlikely a court would feel differently.

It's very likely that she has decided to do without, and is prepared to bluff it out. Of course, the truth could simply be she doesn't have the money - either in one go, or via repayments, and if so - court won't help.

I think this is a write off to experience one!
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Old January 31st, 2007, 07:04 AM   #23
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If I bring this to court, you can bet I will have it edited beforehand. Regardless, she signed a contract stating that she would pay me in full in the wedding day -- BEFORE any editing starts. How she feels about the matter is irrelevent to me, to be honest. I've kept my end of the bargain.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 07:51 AM   #24
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Bill, how far away are these people? Is tehre any chance you can drop by there home of an evening "just passing through"

this way there is no embaressment on their part and theyre not bailking anyhting coz ur right there.

DONT edit, and DO tell them that work CANNOT begin until the acount is settled. Their peace of mind that the work will be done is the contract itself..

in my invoice, i actually state the payment requirements as well as overdue payment fees, which is $35admin fee for payment made after the date and are about 15% per month calculated daily for each day the payment is late.
This is a good alternative for future clients as they dont wan to pay fees, but this IS a contracted service after all. If they dont like it, tough shit. They shoudnt have hired u

As for them not wanting to the work, its nto everyday that people blow cash on having someone film their wedding and NOT wanting it. Unless there is somethign wrong with the relationship, most peopel DO want their videos.
More tahn likely her photoalbum blew their budget out of the water and theyre trying to avoid you while they recoup their losses.

IMO, i would continue to hound them until they pay up. Be nice but in the end, advise them that you are contracted to complete the work once payment is recieved, and tehy wont see anythign until you are paid.
Whether or not the bride feels that nothign has been done, is not the issue. If they do ask, tell them tapes ahve been loggeed and a draft has been planned, but nothign more can be done until you recieve payment (and or music)

I wouldnt stress too much about it, but at least next time you will know what to do i guess..

As for me, ive had clients pay deposits and then offer to pay me on the day, to which i say no, but sometimes, i have no choice especially when family are involved. They want to make sure you show up before they pay you. THing is, i ask for payment BEFORE i hit record. and i hang around and dont shoot until they do.. if they say ""Ôll get it later", I say, id rather take care of it now becuase later i will be too busy"
they get the hint, theyre usualy not too pleased about it, but i really dont care im there to do a job, not make a friends...

Sometimes you have to be a little assertive
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Old January 31st, 2007, 01:19 PM   #25
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Was any money collected prior to the wedding?
If so, was she given a receipt for the money collected?
Allen W
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